Summer at the Delaware shore is full of fun and busy with people and activities. It’s during the “off-season” when many of the practical things get done. So, what happened while all of our summer visitors were gone, and what’s coming to a beach town near you?
Local beach towns have more sand coming in the fall
While it won’t impact beachgoers this summer, the beaches of Bethany Beach, South Bethany and Fenwick Island will get a much-anticipated replenishment starting this fall. After damage from a series of storms in the last few years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will bring the engineered beach back to its template design, from dune to shore. The projects are expected to be completed in time for the 2018 summer season.
In the meantime, beachgoers will still have a narrow beach to contend with this summer. And while some dune crossings have seen temporary repairs, others show signs of the wear and tear they’ve seen over the last two winters.
Route 26 project completed, new signals elsewhere
After years of lane closures, construction, paving and more, the Route 26 Mainline Improvements Project has finally been completed, offering two travel lanes and a joint left-turn lane along the entire length of Route 26 from Bethany Beach through Millville. The improved roadway also includes curbs and stormwater systems, along with a bike lane and sidewalks in some locations.
With the completion of that project, some of the “back roads” that served as detours during the project have also acquired traffic signals. The once-temporary traffic signal at Central Avenue and Cedar in Ocean View has now been made permanent, while Route 17 (Roxana Road) between Clarksville and Roxana has had a new traffic signal added at the busy intersection with Burbage Road.
Improvements coming to beachfront Atlantic Avenue
Bethany Beach officials are moving ahead with long-considered improvements to the town’s beachfront road, Atlantic Avenue, starting with the south end of the street later this year.
The $1.49 million S. Atlantic Streetscape project will aim to address pedestrian and cyclist safety and flooding problems while repaving the roadway. The plan calls for a multi-use path — bicycle and pedestrian combined — on the west side of the roadway, separated from parking and traffic by a landscape buffer. It is also expected to increase the number of available parking spaces by about 15 spaces.
The council will consider the results of the project when it is completed and could move to extend it down N. Atlantic Avenue in the future.
Trolley back to one route only
For efficiency’s sake, Bethany Beach’s Town Trolley this summer has returned back to one single route encompassing many of the stops the previous pair of routes served, with service starting May 26. The trolley runs from 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, with the last pick-up on Atlantic and Garfield at 9:45 p.m. The trolley leaves location #1 on the half-hour, starting at 9:30 a.m. There may be little or no service daily 12:30 to 1 p.m. and 7 to 7:30 p.m. for driver breaks.
Passengers can flag down the trolley anywhere along the route for pick-up or discharge, except on Route 26 or Route 1. There is no pick-up or drop-off on Jefferson Bridge or Route 26. The trolley also no longer stops at the Lake Bethany entrance or the South Coastal Library. The trolley fare is 25 cents each way (the driver does not make change). The trolley map is online at http://townofbethanybeach.com/DocumentCenter/View/2036, and the trolley brochure is at http://townofbethanybeach.com/DocumentCenter/View/2035.
No smoking on South Bethany beaches
In April, South Bethany became the last coastal Delaware town to prohibit smoking on the beach. That includes traditional cigarettes, pipes, cigars, hookahs or electronic smoking devices.
Beachgoers can still enjoy other vices, though. Alcohol is still permitted on South Bethany beaches (glass containers prohibited).
Bethany Beach recycles weekly
The Town of Bethany Beach has switched from bi-weekly curbside pickup of recyclables to weekly pickup, citing increased use of the service. Pick-up is on Wednesdays for Zone 1 and on Thursdays for Zone 2.
State of the Bays shows the good and the bad
The Delaware Center for the Inland Bays (CIB) wants citizens and officials to get involved in their watershed, so they released the 2016 State of the Bays report as a broad, but understandable, look at local bay health. It’s not a terrible report, but the inland bays need some love.
For this five-year update, the CIB studied endless data to grade six major categories, from water quality to climate and human health risks. Nothing in the watershed scored above average.
The CIB called for more funding, incentives or regulation for conservation, wetlands protections, nutrient management. The public can get involved in big or little ways: picking up trash, volunteering for field studies, counting horseshoe crabs, serving on volunteer boards or more.
The report is available to the public, legislators and anyone else interested in the watershed, for use in making decisions or inspiring change in their neighborhoods.
The full report is online at www.inlandbays.org/about-the-bays/state-of-the-inland-bays-2016.
Exercise on the boardwalk and beach
Bethany Beach has again approved a slate of fitness classes on the boardwalk and beach this summer. Once again, yoga is on offer, now through three different studios (Bethany Beach Yoga Center, Ocean Vayu Yoga and DimitraYoga), on various days of the week. Bootcamp Bethany Beach is back for a third year, while Beach Pilates & Wellness Studio of South Bethany will offer Pilates classes. (Check the Town website at townofbethanybeach.com for times, locations and costs.)
New this year is the Ninja Warrior Junior Fitness Class, on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 9 a.m., for $10 per child. The kids’ workout is designed as a fun-filled hour of jumping, swinging, climbing, leaping, balancing and rolling for kids ages 7 to 13.
In South Bethany, yoga will be offered every Tuesday and Thursday from June 3 through Sept. 2, at 8 a.m. on the beach at South 3rd Street. Boot Camp on the Beach will run June 10 through Sept. 2, on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 a.m. at North 6th Street.
Fenwick Islanders can also take advantage of Pilates and bootcamp classes on the beach there, while kids can again take part in the Town’s Junior Lifeguard Program, running from the end of June through early August.
Fun for kids and families
The Fenwick Island Barefoot Garden Club will host Children’s Storytime in the Park at the Fenwick Island gazebo on Wednesdays, July 5, 12, 19 and 26, at 10 a.m. Along with the book readings, the children will also help with the growing of plants in the vegetable garden in the park and will be able to watch caterpillars change into butterflies, provide habitat for them and learn about protecting the environment.
Fenwick Flicks will also continue this summer, on the beach at Bayard Street. July 11 will feature “Moana,” with “Zootopia on July 25 and “Finding Dory” on Aug. 8.
Bethany Beach’s Movies on the Beach will again be shown on Monday nights off Garfield Parkway, starting around dusk. The slate of PG-rated films this summer includes “The Wild Life” on June 12, “Nine Lives” on June 19, “Monster Trucks” on June 26, “Sing” on July 3 (right after Karaoke Night on the boardwalk), “Moana” on July 10, “Finding Dory” on July 17, surfing movie “Chasing Mavericks” on July 24, “Secret Life of Pets” on July 31, “Lego Batman Movie” on Aug. 7, “The Croods” on Aug. 14, “Boss Baby” on Aug. 21 and the live-action “Beauty & the Beast” on Aug. 28.
Movies will also be shown on Bethany’s bandstand on Friday nights in September, including some PG-13 selections: “The Founder,” “The Jungle Book,” “Mrs. Doubtfire” and “La La Land.”
Musical performances are a bandstand staple, and Bethany will continue that tradition this year, kicking things off with the newly expanded Poseidon Festival, May 27 through June 1, featuring a Caribbean Carnival with steel band on May 27, the U.S. Navy Cruisers on May 28, Pirate Night (featuring the movie “Hook”) on May 30, Mermaid Night (featuring a mermaid parade and skimboarding) on May 31 and a Jimmy Buffet-themed final act on June 1.
Bandstand performances are scheduled from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with an occasional mid-week booking. Shows typically begin at 7:30 p.m. A full listing of performers is available online at http://townofbethanybeach.com/261. A special feature again this summer will be Kids’ Nights, every Wednesday in July, featuring a Carnival Night (kids’ music, magic and more), a puppet show and children’s theater productions.
South Bethany will offer its first summer concert on Monday, July 3, featuring Over Time and a chance to learn how to sing the South Bethany song. The event will be held outdoors in front of town hall, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. South Bethany’s movie nights will take place on the beach at South 3rd Street, with “The Secret Life of Pets” on July 13 and “Moana” on Aug. 3, with free popcorn and glow sticks for children.
Down on the farm(ers’ market)
The Bethany Beach Farmers Market, at the corner of Garfield Parkway and Pennsylvania Avenue, will open for its 10th season on June 11, running every Sunday morning from 8 a.m. until noon through Sept. 10.
The Fenwick Island Farmers Market will open on June 17, running on Fridays from 8 a.m. to noon, through Sept. 8, at Route 1 and Essex Street. Free parking is available in the grassy lot where the market is located.
The Farmers’ Market at Sea Colony will return on Wednesday, June 14, running through Aug. 30, every Wednesday morning from 8 a.m. to noon, on Route 1 at Sea Colony, south of Bethany Beach.
Hocker’s Supermarket now open in Salt Pond
The Hocker family over the winter took over their newly purchased space at the former Harris Teeter supermarket location in the Salt Pond Plaza, moving out of their long-running G&E Grocery farther down Cedar Neck Road and expanding into the nearly 50,000-square-foot space, adding sit-down space for customers to eat prepared foods from the store and a self-serve ice cream bar, as well as linens, sushi and Kitchen Kettle Village products.
The long-term future of the G&E Supermarket building had yet to be decided this spring, but for the foreseeable future, the family said, it will be used to prepare food for the family’s catering and food-truck business.
The existing gas tanks at G&E continue to be open, but customers who don’t pay by credit card at the pump now pay at G&E Hardware next door. There will be gas pumps at the new store, too — they’re currently in the permitting process.
The family’s deer processing service will also continue at the old store. And while the old store carried a small selection of baits, the new store’s bait offerings “for the recreational fisherman” has expanded, and they now carry 20-pound bags of ice.
Point staff reporter Laura Walter contributed to this story.